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Discussion Starter #1
Charlie is 2 years, 5 months old , 80+ pound Standard Poodle and loves running in the leash free parks. We live in a condo without a yard so he needs lots of exercise. He thrives on wrestling and wild games of Chase. This is great when we find big playful dogs at the park, but all too often smaller, timid or older dogs are there. He then rushes them, shoulder checks, chases behind them and continuously barks in their faces, certainly not appreciated! I end up running after him and refereeing, yelling at him to come back, or Leave It. When he is caught up in the excitement of running, he often can't hear me. He is generally an obedient dog , super calm with humans. Walks with perfect decorum on his leash - but that doesn't give him exercise.

He has no interest in chasing balls, won,t swim and I am unable to run with him. So the only way he gets much-needed exercise is at the leash free park.

I would appreciate advice from the community on improving his dog-play manners.

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I'm sure many will weigh in with excellent training advice, but have you heard of Sniffspot? It's a listings website for private offleash areas, which you can book by the hour. Maybe your boy and some of his favourite boisterous friends could meet there for some play sessions.

I've been thinking of organizing a local spoo get-together at one near us. Or even just using it for recall practice. There's a nice fenced acre not too far from here for only $5/hour.
 

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You have to teach him self control. When he sees another dog he is not allowed to approach until he looks at you and receives permission. If the dog is not one that he can play with he does not get permission. I know leashes are frowned on in off leash parks, but you either have to keep him on leash and unhook him after he asks for and receives permission or else keep him next to you in whatever way you can.

Off leash does not mean he is free to do whatever he pleases, it means that he has to listen to you and obey, otherwise he is not going to be off leash. Of course that is a learning process, which means that trips to the park are training trips even more than they are exercise trips. He has to learn to listen to you in the face of distractions, which is going to be very hard for him since he has not had to do that up to now. You probably will need to start by keeping him a distance away from the other dogs until he is able to pay attention to you, how far away depends on him. You can gradually move closer. It may be some time before he gets to actually play with the other dogs, which means he will be getting mental exercise instead of physical, and this is totally OK.

Bottom line if he will not listen to you he shouldn't be off leash. Off leash is something that needs to be earned, not given.
 

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Have you tried some local classes? We found the most wonderful trainer, but sometimes I think the greatest value is in the time Peggy gets to spend in class around other polite dogs, whether she's engaging with them during "puppy play" time or having focusing on us during obedience training despite all the excitement.

The mental component is just as tiring as the physical, I think.
 

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Pull them away calmly and give them a time out. Point them away from the object they were fixating on. They'll usually be distracted in about a minute.

If necessary, and it usually is, rinse and repeat... eventually they catch on.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm sure many will weigh in with excellent training advice, but have you heard of Sniffspot? It's a listings website for private offleash areas, which you can book by the hour. Maybe your boy and some of his favourite boisterous friends could meet there for some play sessions.

I've been thinking of organizing a local spoo get-together at one near us. Or even just using it for recall practice. There's a nice fenced acre not too far from here for only $5/hour.
Thank you so much for the great idea. I've been told that a lady who lives 1.5 hours away has a Spoo and encountered the same problems, and now has a regular group of Spoos who meet to play. I reached out to our small community - only about 3,000 residents in our district - and today two people with rambunctious dogs met with me. It is a start.

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Discussion Starter #7
You have to teach him self control. When he sees another dog he is not allowed to approach until he looks at you and receives permission. If the dog is not one that he can play with he does not get permission. I know leashes are frowned on in off leash parks, but you either have to keep him on leash and unhook him after he asks for and receives permission or else keep him next to you in whatever way you can.

Off leash does not mean he is free to do whatever he pleases, it means that he has to listen to you and obey, otherwise he is not going to be off leash. Of course that is a learning process, which means that trips to the park are training trips even more than they are exercise trips. He has to learn to listen to you in the face of distractions, which is going to be very hard for him since he has not had to do that up to now. You probably will need to start by keeping him a distance away from the other dogs until he is able to pay attention to you, how far away depends on him. You can gradually move closer. It may be some time before he gets to actually play with the other dogs, which means he will be getting mental exercise instead of physical, and this is totally OK.

Bottom line if he will not listen to you he shouldn't be off leash. Off leash is something that needs to be earned, not given.
I am grateful for your solid advice . I have a long leash and will start working with it

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Discussion Starter #8
Have you tried some local classes? We found the most wonderful trainer, but sometimes I think the greatest value is in the time Peggy gets to spend in class around other polite dogs, whether she's engaging with them during "puppy play" time or having focusing on us during obedience training despite all the excitement.

The mental component is just as tiring as the physical, I think.
I have been asking around for recommendations for a trainer, and have a couple of names to start with. I like your idea of classes as Charlie is very well behaved around humans and obeys promptly. He is just so frantic to play with other dogs that I think he ignores their cues to back off, so I need to work with him in a class setting to address this.

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